Avatar universal

Pulled back, which doctor should I go to?

Hi, I'm new to this place.

On Wed, Aug 10th, I pulled something in my lower back while lifting furniture. I got a searing hot pain and immediately stood up. In the next 45 seconds, besides the profuse sweating and inability to move because of pain, both my legs went numb, then both my arms, then both my ears (didn't go deaf, but it sounded as if someone was holding their hands over them). I grabbed my water and started gulping it down and the numbness went away.

However, I could not move. Lucky me I work in a furniture store and someone helped me on a bed wear I laid for about 5 min. I then sat down for about and hour, until someone drove me to a chiropractor.

I've seen the chiropractor 3 times since. Due to the spine not being tender, he said it's most likely not a herniated disc, but not ruling it out 100%. With heat, massage, and e-stim, I've loosed up a bit. Besides the hellish first day and night, I've been able to move around, albeit with pain.

Here's why I'm writing. As long as I don't over bend I can avoid that stabbing pain in my lower back, but, I have a constant, 24 hr, deep dull pain that runs from inside my right butt cheek, down inside my hamstring, and then around the outside of my knee. The pain also sometimes, mildly, runs down my calf and into my ankle. This has been going on since the 2nd day, and everything has been on the right side of my body.

Fast forward to yesterday, Aug. 15th, and I wake up with a very stiff neck on the left side of my body. It's annoying, and it feels like any other stiff neck, and I'd like to believe that it has nothing to do with my back. Until I woke up this morning and the pain in my neck, while has become a little milder, has now radiated down into my shoulder and my upper arm.

Sorry for the long post, but I feel like the chiropractor is just going to keep heating and massaging me. I mentioned an MRI and he shrugged it off for now. With these symptoms what type of doctor should I go see? Neurologist? I'm not sure.
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1432897 tn?1322959537
I would see a dr. that would get you an MRI.  Was this the firs ttime you saw this chiro?  Did he get x-rays of your spine?

Here is what helps me when my back flares up:

1) ice ice ice ice ice ice and then I use ice.   20 mins on, 60 min 0ff.  This helps reduce
    inflammation and ease muscle spasms.  Do not go longer than 20min.  Going longer
    makes the body think something is wrong and starts to defend itself.

2) moist heat    at hot as you can stand it.  15mins no more than 4 times a day.  This
    to loosen muscles without increasing inflammation.

3) stretching   ask your chiro or other doctors for stretches.  You can also google  
    stretches for back pain and do some research on your own.

4) exercise   talk to your dr before starting any exercise so you don't do more harm than
    good.  Perhaps they can recommend specific exercises to help build strength in core
    area.  Also do a google search on these as well.  The more info and questions you
    have for the doctor the more worthwhile the visit.

5) pills  if it is bad enough I will take a muscle relaxer or some ibuprofen.  I personally stay
    away from pain killers but that is up to you.  Just be careful when taking them.  Some
    can be very addicting.

I have taken a conservative approach to rehabing my back.  I've had herniated and bulged discs which have been repaired and healed without surgery.  If you'd like more info leave me a note and I'll share with you.  Be careful with orthopedists and neurosurgeons.  They have a greater tendency to use surgery.  There are many noninvasive approaches to fixing your back that a worth looking into.  Definetly get an MRI to see whats going on.  Good luck!!
Helpful - 0
1415174 tn?1453243103
Hi and so sorry you pulled your back. I would see an orthopedic surgeon. Not to get surgery because almost all back problems don't require surgery but because they are most knowledgeable about the back. They should get an MRI to double check if anything is pinching a nerve, like degenerative disk or other. It sounds very much like the sciatic nerve as it runs the path you are describing.  I'm not sure about the arm and neck. The neurologist should come after you get the MRI and talk to the Orthopedic doctor. Alternatively, you could just go to your GP or the neurologist and get an MRI. I would get it done as soon as possible. As the last post said getting on a muscle relaxant will help in the initial stages of back pain as well as Ibupropin (with food). Ice is good the first 48-72 hours then you can switch to ice heat or heat. The NIH says to not ice or heat if you have a nerve problem. So it is best to get diagnosed as soon as you can although a lot of people go undiagnosed with low back pain.  I would walk around if you can and don't sit or lay down too much as I did this a month and got atrophied. It is hard to get out it. But the first 72 hours you can get the inflammation down and get to the doctor. I personally don't believe chiroprators help much. I agree other than walking around a bit don't excercise too much until you get to the doctor. Unless you really can't stand the pain I wouldn't take pain killers either except for maybe I week or two. I took Tramadol for a month and it took a week to get over the withdrawal. But given the amount of pain I was in I couldn't tolerate it. Vicadin is good for 1-2 days but I got severe insomnia after one day of it. I have had others tell me they had the same reaction. Let us know how your MRI comes out and what the doctor says. Hope this helps and hope you feel better soon.
Helpful - 0
1340994 tn?1374193977
Most back pain goes away within 6 weeks, no matter what the cause.  I just hurt my back while assisting a friend in lifting a concrete slab, so I lived it firsthand.  From the way mine felt, I probably caused a disc to at least bulge.  I had a variety of pains and discomforts.  I took it easy some and avoided lifting anything more than 5 lb for a few weeks, but did keep walking as that is the best thing for the back.  The pain did move around and traveled up the back like it will when you inadvertantly change the way you are moving, and I had a bit of sciatic nerve discomfort.  Fortunately for me, it went away within 3 or 4 weeks.  Be aware that a chiropractic adjustment can be just the pressure required to herniate a disc that is already bulging.  It sounds like your chiropractor is doing other things to ease your discomfort, rather than adjustments.  If he is keeping you from locking up (from the way we tense our muscles when we are afraid of pain and injury), then he is helping you, but statistically speaking, 3-6 weeks of therapy is probably all you'll need to get you through.  

I hope your pain resolves and you can return to normal activity, though hopefully you can avoid moving furniture since your spine might be more vulnerable than it was before.
Helpful - 0
Avatar universal
Thank you for your replies.

I have to get that MRI, hopefully it's nothing.

Helpful - 0
Avatar universal
So I just got my MRI results back ....

L5-S1 disc herniation, pressing on the nerve root.

This is going to take months and months of stretching isn't it?
Helpful - 0
1340994 tn?1374193977
If the doctor recommended physical therapy, it would do it.  I would only do surgery if you have tried all recommended therapies and given it adequate healing time.  The problem with lower back surgery is that once one level goes and surgery is performed, it very common for other discs to herniate, one at a time.  It is very frustrating.  That's why good surgeons don't like to do lower back surgery.  When discs herniate higher up (in the neck/cervical spine), the surgical success rate is much better than when it is the lower back.  I suppose it's because there is more weight pressing on the lower spine.  
Helpful - 0
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